The rain stayed away as a river of yellow t-shirted walkers flooded through Mountmellick last Saturday May 10, for the third and biggest Darkness into Light walk in Laois.
An estimated 800 people came from all over the county to walk or run in the atmospheric candlelit event, many of them in remembrance of loved ones who had sadly taken their own lives.
The DIL walk was one of 39 dawn walks taking place nationwide and in London and Sydney, to raise money for Pieta House centres, who give free counselling to people in suicidal or self harm crisis.
Organisers Susan and John Nelson were overwhelmed at the local response.
“We couldn’t believe the crowd, there was a brilliant atmosphere, and people are saying they can’t wait till next year. The response was fantastic, not just in raising money but hopefully a lot of awareness,” Susan said.
This year’s walk, again based at the GAA club, featured a ‘memory tree’ donated by ‘Dad’s Garden Centre’. Just before heading off on the 5k circuit, walkers held hands and swayed to the anthem for DIL ‘I won’t let go’, in an emotional show of solidarity.
While a final figure is not yet counted, last year 500 Laois walkers raised €14,000, so more is hoped for this year.
Supporters who couldn’t attend the walk also dug deep and donated during registration days, while Mountmellick Community School gave €1,500, raised by staff & students.
“We could not believe the money people gave, in these tough times,” said Susan.
With suicide a growing problem, she hopes there will eventually be a Pieta centre in Laois. “Fingers crossed, we are aiming for that,” she said.
Pieta Roscrea 0505-22568